Skate board park “officially” opened; Alton Community Centre will soon follow creating distinct suburban neighbourhood.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 16, 2012  The Alton community took another step on the weekend to becoming a complete community.  The Norton Park complex was officially opened and the public got to see just what the kids do on skate boards and mountain bikes. It is not something for those over fifty.

Residents of the community find a shady spot to sit in on the official opening ceremonies of the Norton Park.  With the politicians done – the kids headed for the skate board section.

There was a decent turn out.  I’m never sure why the city holds these “official openings” – photo ops for sure, but is that it?  The comments made don’t make any impact – we didn’t lean much other than the size of the facility and that it would tie in very nicely with the Alton Community Centre under construction across the street.

Jennifer Johnson, Coordinator of Project Management for the city is the hands on person for the development of the Alton Community Centre across the street form the park.

Tim Dobbie Drive, the road that runs from Dundas north into the community will get a softening with trees planted and humps – that isn’t a speed bump, but it will slow traffic.  The idea is to create a setting where people are able to easily walk back and forth between the two locations.

A helmeted youth listens patiently as Ward Councillor Blair Lancaster talks about the Norton Park and what it will mean to the community. She fortunately didn’t talk for very long.

The skate board park on one side and the community centre that will consist of a school, a sports complex and a library on the other side has the potential to become a focus at the top of the suburban part of the city.  Community building is more art than science but if all the ingredients are in place there is the potential to create something distinctly different than what Burlington’s suburban feel has been in the past.

Ward Councillor Blair Lancaster and Mayor Rick Goldring put their political reputations on the line and stand on skate boards. Is there one foot on the ground there?

The skate board part of the Norton Park is superb and there are all kinds of soccer fields in place.  At some point they might add some tennis courts and maybe even a community garden.  But these things take time.  Give the area another five to seven years and the shade trees in place now will have matured and it will be a very pleasant place to spend time.

The library and the sports complex have wonderful potential.  The sports part has a gymnasium layout that is flexible with very high ceilings.  The long term thinking was to create a location where provincial level sports events could be held.

The high school will create an identity of its own, one that reflects the community and at the same time takes on the competitive nature of inter-high school rivalry.

One thing that was missing from the official opening event, and that was someone from the Norton family after whom the park was named.  That family started a ‘bus’ system in 1936 and used a seven-passenger Pierce Arrow Limousine to take a group of kids to school.   Norton recognized that every child, regardless of circumstances, needed and deserved an education and without his transportation, many students in the rural communities in north Burlington would not have been able to attend school. Over the next several decades, the Norton bus business grew into a fleet of 500 buses, transporting 15,000 students each day.

The company exists today as a charter bus service.

The present day location of C. H. Norton Public School is located several hundred yards from Cecil Norton’s former home.  The Norton Community Centre is named for Cecil Norton who lived in the Headon Forest area.


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